Unilever's Ghana Unit Sees Growing Economy Bolstering Sales

(Bloomberg) -- Rapid economic expansion and a stable currency will continue to bolster Unilever NV’s Ghana unit after revenue grew by a fifth in the first three months of 2018, according to its managing director.

The manufacturer and distributor of Lux soap and Lipton tea wants to take advantage of favorable conditions in the West African nation by widening its distribution network and introducing more products, MD Ziobeieton Yeo said Thursday in an interview in the capital, Accra. Sales in the quarter through March increased 20 percent to 165 million cedis ($35.8 million) from the previous year, according to financial statements.

An oil-fueled boom has lifted Ghana’s economic expansion to 8.5 percent last year and the International Monetary Fund forecasts growth of 6.3 percent in 2018. The cedi strengthened by 1.1 percent against the dollar in the first four months of the year, its best performance for January to April against the U.S. currency since 2010. Inflation has more than halved since March 2016 to 9.6 percent in April.

“If you look at gross domestic product growth, if you look at how inflation has been contained, it’s good for business,” said Yeo. The stable exchange rate “prevents us from taking unnecessary price pressure to the consumer.”

The shares have risen 37 percent this year to 17.62 cedis at the close in Accra on Thursday.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.